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About a year ago I was in Bali, Indonesia, when the electricity suddenly went off in my district of Ubud. It was a rolling blackout because of a power shortage. Are the managers of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s grid at the same level of Bali?

Yes, there was a once-in-a-lifetime earthquake followed by a tsunami that destroyed nuclear reactors that produce electricity. But the company should have been working on contingency plans for something like this, because we all knew it was coming someday. That day is here, and all that TEPCO can come up with is rolling blackouts? These blackouts cause fear, panic, confusion; companies cannot plan. The list of bad things is endless. Do we need any more of this in our daily lives?

In 1990 I was living in San Francisco during one of the longest droughts in history. The same ideas about conservation were being discussed, only in terms of water rationing. However, they came up with a much easier and better solution: Everyone had to cut back on water usage by a certain percentage or face very heavy fines — up to $1,000 for just a $20 water bill. Rich people and large companies who did not obey faced jail time. It worked with no disruption in service. Everyone I knew obeyed and we got through this hardship safe and secure.

Did TEPCO’s grid management team consider something like this or did they just say “shoganai.” My prayers to the people of northern Japan. Please get them water and food.

george lundberg

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